After numerous run-ins over the distribution of power in the capital, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the AAP government seem to have finally found an issue to agree upon: the need for a ‘car-free’ day in Delhi.
In a move that probably took the AAP government as well as the Delhi Police equally by surprise, Jung on Tuesday urged Police Commissioner B S Bassi to help the government observe a ‘car-free’ day on October 22, from Red Fort to India Gate through ITO. Sources said the Lt Governor told police they could not deny permission to an elected government.
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As reported by The Indian Express on October 2, the Delhi Police had urged the government to reschedule the event, as the day coincided with Dussehra, idol immersion and a possible visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to that area. Transport Minister Gopal Rai had then proposed that the much-publicised event could be held in the first half of the day, much before VVIP movement or Dussehra processions began.
Jung, who met Rai on Tuesday, said after the meeting, “Gopal Rai made a request to observe the International Car-free Day on the 22nd of every month. This is a initiative that should be undertaken at a national level to promote the use of public transport. This exercise should be undertaken in Delhi persistently and continuously, otherwise the purpose will be defeated”.
The Lt Governor claimed that he had already spoken to the police commissioner about the issue and the police had agreed to help the Delhi government conduct the event on October 22.
“The commissioner had requested that the date of the event be changed, due to Dussehra, but transport minister Gopal Rai convinced us that it should be held on that day. I have spoken to the commissioner about this,” said Jung.